Old Trafford isn’t scary any more for City, says Guardiola
PEP Guardiola believes Old Trafford is no longer scary for Manchester City.
City suffered a lot at the home of their neighbours Manchester United prior to their takeover by Shiekh Mansour, failing to register a victory there between 1974 and 2008.
That has changed recently and City – who head across town for a crucial derby today – have lost just once there in their last seven Premier League visits.
City boss Guardiola said: “I don’t make theories about what happened in the past or for what is going to happen in the future. Every game is completely different from the previous one.
“The most important reason why is maybe the fact this club, in the last decade, grew a lot and that is why it is not scary to go there when before it was more difficult.
“The players Manchester City have had in the last 10 seasons have made this game a little bit more equal when before the gap was bigger. Maybe that is the reason but honestly I don’t know.”
This week’s encounter could have huge implications in the title race. A win for City would take them back to the top of the table having played the same number of games as title rivals Liverpool. With three matches to go, they would then be clear favourites for the crown.
There is plenty at stake for United as well, however. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need points in their battle for a top-four place and they also need to restore pride after their 4-0 humbling at Everton on Sunday.
City have previously been accused of ‘tactical fouling’ to prevent counter-attacks when they are pressing high up the pitch, and Solskjaer expects to see that tonight.
“We have got to be ready for the press and the quality they have got on the ball,” he said. “When we win it we have got to be ready for their aggression because they will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you.
“They will not allow us easy counter-attacking. There will be fouls, no doubt about it.”
The Norwegian has overseen four defeats in six since taking the job full-time. Asked if he could turn it around, he said: “I’d like to say yes. It’s not down to me to say that but I’m confident in my team and I’m ready to take on the challenge.”